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Sharks: 2021 season by the numbers

Cronulla went into the 2021 season intent on keeping their six-year streak of finals appearances going but quickly discovered that outside noise can cause disruption to a campaign.

The Sharks were already on the back foot early in the season without the services of chief playmaker Shaun Johnson until round seven due to an achilles injury.

By the time Johnson got back on the paddock he was being led by an interim coach in Josh Hannay after the sacking of John Morris in April.

Morris's departure sent shockwaves through the club before Hannay had to endure five losses before earning his first win in round 11.

In between all that the side lost captain Wade Graham for the remainder of the season due to a head knock while Josh Dugan remained in Sydney once the side uprooted to Queensland.

Cronulla appeared to be on track for another finish in the eight but costly losses by narrow margins throughout the year came back to bite them.

Regular season win/loss record 

Two wins from their opening 10 games had the Sharks sliding to as low as 14th on the Telstra Premiership ladder.

A four-game winning streak during Origin pushed the Sharks back into the top eight but their move to Queensland didn't go to plan with just three wins recorded in their last eight games.

The Sharks enjoyed some success at their adopted home ground of Netstrata Jubilee Stadium with five wins from seven attempts.

Run metres differential

The Sharks averaged 1669 metres per game to rank seventh in the competition but in return conceded 1763 for a -94 differential.

Outside backs Will Kennedy (146m) and Connor Tracey (134m) made the most ground per outing while Toby Rudolf (120m) was the best forward in this department.

Try scoring - game time

Cronulla scored 87 tries in 2021 at an average of 3.6 per game to finish equal eighth in this area.

The Sharks scored most of their tries in the first halves of games, particularly between the 20th to 40th minute.

Kennedy and Tracey led the way with 14 tries each.

Wingers Ronaldo Mulitalo (10) and Sione Katoa (9) were also prominent on the edges despite their seasons being disrupted by injuries.

Tries conceded - game time

Cronulla conceded 97 tries during the regular season to rank seventh in the competition.

The Sharks were good defensively in the first half of games, knuckling down in the second 20 minutes of opening stanzas to concede just 13 tries in that period.

However, their second halves of games are where the side fell away with 59 tries conceded in the final 40 minutes.

They lost five games by a margin of six points or less.

Tries scored/conceded from six-again

The Sharks enjoyed a +6 differential for scoring tries following a repeat set gained by a ruck infringement in an area they were once again solid in after ranking the best team last season.

Their conceded total of nine was among the best in the competition alongside South Sydney with only Penrith ahead of both clubs on four.

Metres gained from offloads

The Sharks made 204 offloads in 2021 at an average of 8.5 per game to rank 14th in the competition.

They generated an additional 56.3 metres per game on average with their second-phase play.

Sharks centre Jesse Ramien topped the side's offload count with 35, generating 232.5 metres for his side.

Back-rower Briton Nikora generated 241.1 metres from his 26 offloads to also prove the most effective.

Worryingly the Sharks conceded more offloads than any other team (259) and that's an area new coach Craig Fitzgibbon will look to address in 2022.

Goal-kicking accuracy 

Cronulla's goal-kicking success continues to rise after previous years of struggles with only one loss (round two v Canberra) hugely affected by the boot.

Their 83.3% strike rate was second-best in the league behind Canberra.

Chad Townsend (82.9%) and Shaun Johnson (90%) shared most of the duties throughout the year before Townsend's departure to the Warriors and Johnson's injury left Braydon Trindall (81.8%) with the role late in the year.

Players used 

Cronulla used the least amount of players in the Telstra Premiership with 27 - a remarkable stat considering the club boasts the oldest and most experienced team in the competition with an average age of 26.7.

The squad also had a couple of hiccups throughout the year with injuries to key players and others not joining them in Queensland for the second half of the season.

Over 74 per cent of the squad played 11 or more games, the third-best amount in the league behind grand final teams Penrith and South Sydney.

There were just two rookies - playmaker Luke Metcalf and forward Franklin Pele - who earned NRL debuts.

Cause for concern

One of the areas you often hear coaches talk about is wanting effort every week.

Break causes are split into four categories - missed tackle, poor read, an offload or lazy efforts.

The Sharks finished the year with more break causes conceded by lazy efforts than any other team in the competition.

St George Illawarra (29) and the Broncos (28) were next worst in the competition.

Dragons-bound forward Aaron Woods finished with 12 lazy efforts that led to breaks, followed by Jack Williams (7), Wade Graham (2) and Braden Hamlin-Uele (2).

Right way to go

Cronulla shifted the ball from the left and middle of the field to their right edge more than any other team in the competition throughout the regular season.

The right edge of Sharks regulars Briton Nikora, Jesse Ramien and Sione Katoa saw the ball shift their way on 330 occasions, six ahead of next best Penrith.

Cronulla were ranked seventh shifting the ball from right to left in an area that can be worked on in the off-season.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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